Turf Blog 02-07-24

Delighted to see another turf event has been announced, ESOC FTT#18, taking place down in and around Musselburgh lagoons, or in map speak, Levenhall Links. The event is private, which means you have to register to take part, is open to both foot and bike turfers and starts from 7.00 pm on Monday 1st July. Base zone is MusselLagoon by the boating pond and there will be the usual social afterwards. This one is planned by turfer bythesea. I like this one as it’s easy to get to from home in Bonnyrigg, an easy 45-minute cycle straight from the front door, longer if you take all the zones along the way. Looking forwards to taking part.

The organiser, turfer bythesea, was kind enough to post advance notice of the event area, which posed an interesting thought. Will a turf event work here? The area differs from the usual urban settings for such events, being criss-crossed with a relatively small number of footpaths and cycleways. Depending on the number of participants and the quantity and distribution of zones, will we see masses of turfer all heading the same direction on the same path? We shall see and no doubt it will be fun.

“…sometime later…”

Set off for Musselburgh in plenty of time, leaving the house at 5.00pm. Google said 45 minutes to cycle down, add 15 for contingencies and 30 minutes to take all the zones along the way, so no need to rush. And guess what, arrived in Musselburgh, taking zone Fisherrow at the harbour by 6.00pm, far too early and still an hour to go until take off. So, what did I do? Go turfing of course, cycling here there and everywhere, taking zones, taking my time and also killing time. Conscious that I’ve an energetic event ahead of me.

It’s 7.00pm, I’m stationed at the sea wall and we are off. I’m never good at planning any strategy for these events, or even such a thing is even possible. It’s not like ordinary turfing, takeover time is 30 seconds and that can easily catch you out when you are used to shorter take times, block time is 3 minutes, zones are worth 10 points and the PPH is 60 points, no assists or revisits allowed. With 14 competitors and 55 zones in a relatively small event area, the one thing I can say about this event, or rather one word comes to mind, and that is frustration.

It’s almost impossible to plan more than one zone ahead, if even that, because someone will also be heading for that very same zone. At one stage it looked like I might have a clear run of three zones, but by the time I’d taken the first, both were gone. You also have to keep the screen zoomed in to see exactly where the zones are as some were a little on the small side, so easy to overshoot when you are hurtling around on the bicycle. And being zoomed in you cannot see the others turfers. Then there’s finding those zones hidden in woodland where you did not know there was a network of footpaths. Very sneaky of bythe sea.

But don’t get me wrong, it really is great fun and that is important, though some turfers tend to take things a little too seriously at times. But generally, everyone is very friendly and nice to each other, the banter is always good and I’m sure the meet at the pub afterwards would be most enjoyable. At least if you like that sort of thing, I for one do not. Never did like going to pubs, or making pleasant chit-chat with strangers. Even in my teens I avoided such activities and preferred to head for the hills on the bike, down the river fishing or off to the estate where my uncle worked for some mischief.

Anyway, I managed to finish in 3rd place. First overall and first in the gent’s bike class went to Cruachan, who lives a stone’s throw from the event and put his local knowledge to good use. Perhaps we’ll need to secure a few car tyres to his bike next time to slow him down? The first female cyclist was ElsieSpanner and first foot turfer was Suilven. Tandem was the first female foot turfer and in no way due to other turfer being kind to her at all, honest! Seacat was the first junior. Full details of the event can be found on the Turf website. Looking forward to the next one. Now I just have to cycle back to Bonnyrigg on weary legs. Should have brought the car, I think. And yes, the location worked out just fine.

Now, the other day I stated my Ribble CGR SL ultimate turfing bicycle was complete but with an added mention of a further possible addition by way of the Redshift Shockstop Stem. Well, following further research, namely looking at tons of videos on YouTube, and the discovery of some almost forgotten ex-Standard Life shares that I have from a takeover or merger many a year ago and that are falling in value like you would not believe, I’ve decided to use some of that paltry amount to purchase said item. Should have the cheque from the sale in a few days. More on this to follow.

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